Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Normal Days

On this bumbly blustering Wednesday here in the Duz, I had quite a productive day; which is a surprising thing. In addition to the graduate school essays that I finally finished, I caught up with my work and all that goes along with it. I am convinced this productivity was brought about by the misty fog that rolled in this morning. I couldn't see further than 20 feet outside my window until about 1:00pm today. When I looked up a half hour later, there was a perfectly clear blue sunny sky, complete with the Disney-esque scene with birds chirping happily.

There hasn't been much happening recently, with the exception of graduate school and job applications. I felt like Santa's gift was a huge shove into the real world... depressing. But the real world is kind of ok. The responsibility is both constraining and freeing at the same time. Alas, I digress. Work has been keeping me busy.  You see, Turkey's education system is quite different than ours. A year before they begin study in their department, they are required to study for a year in "Hazirlik" - basically university prep, but only for English. Students must take a full year of English before they can begin university. Suffice it to say that the general motivation is pretty low- they spend the entire previous year studying for their equivalent of the SAT's- except that the test score they receive is the only factor that gets them into college. Can you imagine that kind of pressure? So now, my students are preparing for exam week. They have a placement exam, a listening exam, a grammar exam, a reading and writing exam and a speaking exam. All in one week. Midterms were painful to watch- half of the kids just gave up, and when they came in for their speaking exams, they were shaking. Poor kids. Lately, life has consisted of preparing my kids for the exams, preparing the actual exams themselves and fitting graduate school and a social life in between. But I made it to the end of the week!

Today is Friday, the day before the epic celebration of the coming year. I honestly cannot believe that a whole year has passed. This past year, I traveled to California twice, Lebanon, Turkey and Israel. I graduated college, I got a Fulbright, my sister got engaged and I am an adult. Yeesh. I have now been in Turkey for a full four months and ready to ring in this year with all the glamor it deserves! About 30 Fulbrighters and I are renting a boat to sail the Bosphorus for a few hours tomorrow night. 30 people. 1 boat. New Years. Bring it on.  

So I leave you all today with a beautiful reminder for reflection I got in my email this morning: 

"As you approach the start of a New Year, reflect back on the past one to see how you've grown and what issues still block your way to a deeper transformation. Has there been a theme during this past year and do you see a pattern for your future challenges?"

As the Turks say, yeni yil kutlu olsun! (Happy New  Years!)

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